Aaron Blackwell is leaving the University of New Mexico football team and will transfer to Arizona, he posted on his Twitter page on Saturday.
Blackwell, a 6-foot-3, 288-pound nose tackle from Peoria, Arizona, had been in the transfer portal prior to Danny Gonzales being named UNM head coach on Dec. 17. Two weeks ago, Arizona hired former UNM defensive line coach Stan Eggen to work in the same role for the Wildcats.
Linebacker Dylan Horton, who had also been in the transfer portal as the Journal reported on Dec. 31, won’t play for the Lobos, either, and is transferring to TCU, Gonzales said. Horton is from nearby Frisco, Texas.
Running back Lawrence “L.O.” Johnson, who will be a redshirt sophomore in the fall, is set to return to the Lobos and is on the UNM indoor track and field team, said Gonzales, who is in Arizona recruiting.
Johnson had also entered the transfer portal before Gonzales became the Lobos head coach.
Defensive end Trent Sellers is expecting to be granted another year of eligibility, and wanted to transfer. Gonzales said he has not heard from Sellers on what he’ll decide.
Blackwell and Sellers were team captains for the Lobos last season, Bob Davie’s final of eight as head coach, during which they went 2-10.
Gonzales had welcomed each player back, but said he would wish them well if they decided to leave.
Blackwell had posted on Twitter that he was leaving the Lobos on Friday. He then posted that he would play for Arizona on Saturday.
Gonzales responded Friday on Twitter.
“Good luck Aaron! I know your final year will be great. Thanks for spending time with me and blessings to you and your family! You’re right you will always be a Lobo. Thanks for all the hard work you put into our program. True words Lobos For Life!!”
Blackwell suffered a season-ending right knee injury during the Lobos’ season opener and was granted a medical redshirt for his senior year.
He was an emotional leader for UNM. He recorded 10 tackles with 3½ tackles for losses in 2018 and was UNM’s sole returning starter on the 2019 defensive unit.
“Been an insane ride, and I’m beyond excited to finish things (off) back in my home state,” Blackwell posted on Twitter on Saturday.
Horton, a 6-4, 222-pound linebacker, will be a junior in the fall. He dealt with a high ankle sprain during his sophomore season, yet still finished with 23 tackles, 2½ for losses, and 1½ sacks.
Johnson, a 5-11, 205-pounder, played in one game in 2019, at Notre Dame, where he tweaked his shoulder.
Johnson said he is healthy when he attended Gonzales’ introductory press conference on Dec. 18.
Sellers, a 6-3, 271-pound defensive end from Fayetteville, Georgia, recorded 17 tackles, 5½ for losses, one sack and one fumble recovery in 2019.
He missed the 2018 season after he suffered a knee injury during preseason camp.
MARRA GETS OFFER: La Cueva defensive end Caleb Marra on Friday announced on his Twitter page that the Lobos had extended an offer for him to be a preferred walk-on for UNM.
“Excited to be a part of all that @CoachGonzUNM is bringing back to New Mexico” Marra’s Twitter post on Friday said.
Marra had 43 solo tackles – 11 for loss – and two sacks for the Bears last season.